Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Cult - Choice of Weapon Review

There are many types of rock music but The Cult trade in the kind that rocks for the sake of rocking. For all the musical drama and heartfelt lyrics, the Cult's choice of weapon (I know, I know) has been in making arena ready rock that makes you want to drop to your knees, raise your devil horns aloft and thank the Buddha for good old fashioned rock n' roll. Some 4000 years into their career they have released their best album since Sonic Temple which means this is the best Cult album since 1989! And if you ever cared about such things, there is plenty to love on this record.

It's no secret that The Cult hit a golden patch with the triumvirate of awesome in the 8o's with Love, Electric and Sonic Temple and Choice of Weapon seems to be conceived on taking the best parts of  these three records. For example, intellectual property lawyers would have had a field day with the She Sells Sanctury-esque riff of The Wolf if the band hadn't written it themselves some 27 years ago while Honey from a Knife might as well be called Son of Wild Hearted Son as both songs seem to have the same chorus. Lucifer rocks like it's track 12 off Sonic Temple while first single For the Animals sounds an updated version of the the primal stomp of Electric.

While this may sound like a case of revisionism when the album is this enjoyable it doesn't really matter. Choice of Weapon barrels along with an intensity and purpose that is both bracing and unexpected. It is a BIG sound and Billy Duffy wails like a man half his age and while Ian Astbury is still prattling on about Native American spiritualism (still sitting strangely knowing he's from North West England), it's oddly endearing and lovely. Not all of it works - torch ballad Life > Death wouldn't be out of place on an Elton John record while the time shift on Amnesia is more grating than innovative. For the most part, this is a breezy, good time rock record that you don't hear that much anymore.

A lot of people are making noise about producer Bob Rock (who seemingly disappeared after St Anger but it turned out he was producing 311 records instead) being behind the boards again and sure, the template laid out on Sonic Temple looms large. However, all that means nothing if the tunes aren't there and there are a tunes a plenty. With all that I've written this may sound like some nostalgic trip to memories past but it sure doesn't feel like it - it feels vital, rocking and most of all, fun.


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